UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
RESULTS THAT ARE HELPING TO REWRITE THE FUTURE OF GENETIC DISEASES
THE GENE THERAPY APPEAL SAW DMS HELP TO HIT A £200,000 FUNDRAISING TARGET FOR A BIOREACTOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD’S NEW GENE THERAPY INNOVATION AND MANUFACTURING CENTRE.
After a successful fundraising appeal which focused on research into Parkinson’s disease, the University of Sheffield asked DMS to create a new medical research appeal. This time focusing on rare genetic diseases.
There are over 7,000 rare genetic diseases, each of which may only affect a handful of people around the world. But together these conditions impact on the lives of millions and often there are few, if any, treatments and little hope of a cure.
The specific goal of our appeal was to help fund a bioreactor, an essential piece of technology for the very first laboratory at the new Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre (GTIMC). This new facility and bioreactor are a genuine source of hope for families living with rare genetic diseases as they will significantly increase the speed at which new gene therapies can be developed and put into clinical trials.
Our strategy was to retain and reactivate alumni who had previously given to medical research and also activate a wider set of donors who had previously only ever received or responded to student support appeals.
We created a pack to inspire and inform our audiences about Sheffield’s leading role in rare genetic disease research and highlight the urgent need for and impact of a bioreactor. Our key message highlighted that Sheffield could ‘rewrite the future for people with rare genetic diseases.’ We chose Professor Mimoun Azzouz, Chair of Translational Neuroscience and Director of the GTIMC, to lead the main DM campaign. However, we also wanted to tell the human side of the story. We particularly focused on this in the reminder DM by sharing the story of a little girl called Robbie who has an extremely rare genetic condition called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (SPG47).
We drove responses both off and online with a traditional donation form and QR code in the mailings and a series of emails, which supported the appeal’s key messages. We were delighted that the campaign achieved some outstanding results and, most importantly, helped the University of Sheffield achieve their £200,000 fundraising target.